Blackberry the Smart Choice

WHEN Bono strides onto the stage at the Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona on June 30, Jim Balsillie will be a happy man.

The beginning of U2’s world tour marks the start of a high-profile sponsorship for BlackBerry. This tie-up is designed to speed up the journey of the gadget from the businessman’s briefcase to the pocket of the ordinary consumer.

For Balsillie, the joint chief executive of Research in Motion (RIM), BlackBerry’s parent company, it shows he intends to do more than simply defend his patch in the battle with Apple and Nokia for supremacy in the growing smart-phone market, where the mobile phone has morphed into a handheld computer.

What started life as a portable e-mail device, wrecking family weekends, has become something the younger generation uses to listen to music through applications such as Pandora and Slacker. Pictures of Barack Obama clutching his BlackBerry while on the election trail have only burnished its credentials.